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Pekka Pohjola - Space Waltz CD (album) cover


Pekka Pohjola


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.47 | 39 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars My favourite albums by the Finnish fusion maestro Pekka Pohjola came in the hazy 70's; this album, like most of his 80's releases, has a more modern (80's) keyboard and electric guitar playing. The liner notes underline how Pohjola didn't sell himself to commerciality or "realms of New Age noodling", and that this album was "certainly one of the most memorable ones to come out of Finland that year". That could be true, but I prefer judging this against his own output instead of the lower-quality music of the time. The style of guitarist Seppo Tyni (or maybe it's the way Pohjola writes for guitar) is somehow boring and monotonous to me. The line-up has two keyboard players, and also Pohjola the bassist plays keys.

Majority of the five tracks don't really turn me on. 'American Carousel' is as uninteresting as the title. Playful 'Cat Boulevard' is an update of a WIGWAM track from 1971. I don't now remember the original, but this doesn't remind me at all of the early 70's or Wigwam (not that it should, of course). 'Space Waltz' continues the not-very-emotional clean-shaved jazz rock with its "driving beat, shifting time signatures, integrated synthesizer/bass solo, and circus-inspired breaks".

But the best is yet to come. 'Risto', nearly 14-minute composition, is the one with the nicest melodies. Melancholic, relatively slow melodies that have a strong emotion and that are instantly recognizable as Pohjola's. Also the final track 'Changing Waters' "with the modern-classical overtones" is fine; so fine that it was reworked into a title track of Pohjola's 1992 album. These two tracks save the album from being a bore to me. In all, it's a safe and accessible fusion album. From Pohjola's 80's output I still would rather recommend the compilation New Impressionist or Flight Of The Angel (1987).

Matti | 3/5 |


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